Petersfield continued their excellent start to their Hampshire Counties One campaign with a 36-5 victory at Andover.

Petersfield travelled to Andover’s Goodship ground for a top-of-the-table clash and one that, from previous experience, could be a close and edgy encounter.

With several players unavailable from last week’s starting line-up, vice-captain Franco Tomic wore the armband, while Jake Bosher started at number seven. Will Matthews went to fly half from centre to replace Nick Blumlein and Miles Sampson returned at left wing. Forwards Sam Brown, Ryan Morse and Zak Jenkins were on the bench.

Andover camped in Petersfield’s half for the first 15 minutes, allowing the visitors only scant possession and few phases of play.

On 17 minutes, with the visitors on their 22, the hosts were caught offside at a ruck and the awarded penalty was coolly slotted over by Matthews.

Ten minutes of aggression and shuddering, legal, tackles followed, before Petersfield were pinged for coming in at the side of a ruck. Alex Duffus received a yellow card for what appeared to be a forceful questioning of the referee’s decision, with Duffus having previously transgressed.

The resulting Andover kick to touch and penalty lineout found Andover’s hooker with five metres to dive over in the right corner for an unconverted try.

Petersfield’s front row of Jackson Clark, Nic Wilde and Dan Luff put in a big shift against equal opposition, and during the first half honours were even. Tomic, Tom Potter, Rhys Bowen, Bosher and player-coach Liam Perkins defended with gusto and when in possession made inroads into Andover’s defence.

On the stroke of half-time Petersfield had an attacking lineout on the five-metre line.

The clean catch by Perkins was smuggled in a rolling maul to the hands of Wilde, who touched down. The conversion was unsuccessful, but Petersfield led 8-5 at half-time.

The second half had hardly troubled the stopwatch when Petersfield scored their second try after an excellent passing move. Sampson avoided a tackle and from 20 metres out moved infield to touch down 15 metres to the left of the posts for Matthews to convert.

A period of midfield stalemate followed, before Petersfield found themselves in the home side’s 22. From an error by Andover at a scrum Matthews pounced on the loose ball and dived over under the posts before converting his try.

Andover became frustrated and error-strewn. This led to a minor altercation where Andover’s transgressor was yellow-carded, and Petersfield’s Jenkins took one for the team.

From a five-metre scrum replacement front row Brown was bundled over the line for a converted try.

Petersfield then shifted the ball to the right wing with excellent passing into the hands of George Davis, who stepped the defence to touch down for Matthews to execute a difficult conversion.

When referee Jack Kingman whistled for full-time Petersfield had three wins out of three.

Petersfield’s second team won 54-14 at Farnham’s fourth team despite playing with 14 men for 50 minutes after a red card.

Chris Todd